Ferrari F430...Postcards from Maranello

The ultimate exotic car excursion.

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To an automotive journalist, Maranello in October beats the stuffing out of Paris in the spring. Especially when the occasion is the first chance to drive the Ferrari F430 — a 483-bhp, Ford GT-eating caricature of the 360 Modena with near Enzo-level performance. For a of the car, see our January 2005 issue. But for a small glimpse of what goes on behind the scenes at Ferrari's fabled birthplace, and a closer look at some of the technicalities that make this new Ferrari special, read on.

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The distinctive yellow script above the factory's new entrance. Welcome to the birthplace of the most storied of Italian marques.

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Ferrari's wind tunnel, architectural statement and a useful tool. The tunnel, designed by architect Renzo Piano, was first operational in 1997.

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The F430's 483-bhp, 90-degree V-8 in the flesh...er, aluminum, has dry-sump oiling, cam chains instead of belts and a separate Bosch Motronic ME7 control unit per bank.

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Compact, dohc 4-valve-per-cylinder heads. Intake ports, whose shape has profited from Formula 1 development, are fully machined and then hand-polished.

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F430 and F1 undertrays shows the lengths that Ferrari has gone toward generating downforce in their road cars. Blue shading indicates areas of greatest negative pressure.

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Carbon-ceramic brake rotors, impressive but cost $14,300 extra! Double-wishbone suspension has forged aluminum links and shocks with variable damping.

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This cutaway transaxle shows the clutch pack of Ferrari's E-Diff, a hydraulically modulated, electronically controlled limited slip with a wide range of adjustability.

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Time to drive! Both Ferraris and journalists assemble in the courtyard adjacent to the company-owned Fiorano circuit. This will certainly be a good day.

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Decisions, decisions: silver, red or yellow? Both photographer Stephane Foulon and I opted for the last, but there is no wrong choice here for the F430.

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This would be an air molecule's final view of the F430, after being spit out of that giant diffuser. At 300 km/h (186 mph), this Ferrari can generate 617 lb. of total downforce.

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On our test drive, south of the Maranello factory. Restyled interior shows adaptation of Enzo elements. And there's plenty of cockpit width for arm-twirling for hairpin turns.

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The engine's plenums, airboxes and exhaust are showcased to great effect under glass. New sump and smaller, twin-plate clutch allow the engine to sit lower than in the 360 Modena.

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The F430's more powerful engine needs more air, and the coolant radiators get an extra shot through front intakes that recall the "shark nose" Formula 1 Ferraris of the early 1960s.

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Perhaps the strongest styling influence from the Enzo are the taillights...still round in the Ferrari tradition but protruding quite prominently from the bodywork.

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This image hints at how the F430's acceleration can thoroughly—and enjoyably—assault the senses. It simply raises the bar for what's considered a "fast" car.

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Yet another striking view of the F430. Its enlarged vents, ducts and scoops crank its menacing stare to a level well beyond that of the 360 Modena.

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As if there's any doubt that Ferrari is proud of the technology transfer from Formula 1 to its road cars, the F430's dash plaque puts it to rest.

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